FROM THE ARCHIVE: Just outside of Alicante, in eastern Spain, lies the Mediterranean seascape of Playa del Albir, an aquamarine bay cradled in a low mountain range. But look upward, and the epitome of health and relaxation awaits 350 metres above sea level within the white walls of SHA Wellness Clinic.
Restaurante Sobrino de Botín has seen it all. Having opened its doors in 1725, the oldest restaurant in the world has witnessed the Age of Enlightenment, the Spanish Civil War, the joining of the European Union, ten Real Madrid European Cup Champions League titles, and more.
It’s a cliché that the wines and food from a particular region go well together. So the high-acid reds of northern Italy complement the many tomato-based dishes common there, while pinot noir from Bourgogne pairs nicely with coq au vin. Yet the principle doesn’t always work. Marlborough sauvignon blanc with New Zealand lamb? English sparkling wine with roast beef? But if you need a poster region for this wine and food matching principle, it might well be Rías Baixas.
With Gaudi’s cathedral in Barcelona and Dalí’s surreal theatre museum for starters, Spanish Catalonia already has its share of the quirky. Add to those Castell d’Empordà, a gorgeously restored 14th century castle whose secret heart is a famous battle—in miniature.
The holidays often signal a time for travel, whether discovering new ski trails on foreign slopes, or escaping the winter chill for a warm destination. Over last 15 years, we have travelled to the far corners of the globe and brought home sentimental and unexpected insights. Here, a vicarious visual journey.
“Wine,” wrote Ernest Hemingway, “is one of the most civilized things in the world.” He spent a good portion of four decades, from the 1920s through the ’50s, living and writing in Spain; it’s easy to guess the origin of his choice elixirs. Whatever Hemingway was drinking, I’m channelling his sentiment while sipping a cocktail mixed with cava in Valencia, the country’s third-largest city.
Like all Land Rover Expeditions, the Catalonian Escape provides mostly city-dwellers (Land Rover owners or not) the opportunity to encounter a challenging outdoor environment with a luxurious approach.
Blue. The colour suggests vacation: bright, sunny blue skies and rippling blue waters. There are endless hues within the blue spectrum—baby, electric, midnight—yet the purest of all blues is crystal. Likewise, there are endless cruise lines, but for the most genuine and luxurious experience, the one that tops the list is Crystal.
As the National Geographic Traveler has noted, Barcelona is best absorbed by “dancing slowly with her, like an elusive mistress. You have to seduce her to find her secrets.” Layers of architectural wonders, formidable cuisine, and a buzzing nightlife are all part of the territory when visiting Barcelona—but the seven golden-sand beaches that rim its Mediterranean coastline often come as a surprise.